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What Oscar really means...

All over Hollywood, A-list actors, powerhouse producers and movie moguls are standing in front of their mirrors as they try on their shimmering gowns and brush down their silk tuxedos, all the while practising their acceptance speeches and “I’m so pleased he/she won instead of me” faces.

It can only mean one thing: it’s Oscar time. Possibly the glitziest awards show in the world, the Academy Awards show oozes pure Hollywood.

Here we take a look behind that famous name.

O is for Oscar…

The coveted statuette is just over a foot high, and weighs over 8lbs. Its moniker reportedly came about when Academy librarian Margaret Herrick, upon seeing the little gold chap for the first time, exclaimed, “It looks just like my Uncle Oscar!”

Oscar is actually a knight clasping a sword. He stands on a reel of film with five spokes to represent the various branches of the Academy – directors, actors, producers, technicians and writers.

During World War II, the mini mannequins were plaster rather than the gold plated solid bronze which had been used previously, in recognition of the war effort austerity. Nowadays, they are fashioned from gold-plated britannium.

Oscar

S is for Streep…

Meryl Streep has now accrued more acting nominations than anyone else in the history of the awards. To date, The Iron Lady actress has garnered 18 in total, the latest of which is for her role in August: Osage County.

With the recent news that La Streep is now attached to period drama Suffragette – which started shooting here in the UK on 24 February - the 19th could well be in her sights …

August: Osage County

C is for Crying…

Gwyneth Paltrow currently holds the crown for Most Lachrymose Performance for the tearfest of 1999 when she clasped the gong for her role in Shakespeare in Love. It was touch and go for a while, as she seemed to be just about holding the tears at bay until her speech turned to the subject of family and the floodgates opened.

She has had some pretty stiff competition over the years though, with Halle Berry putting in a hanky-drenching turn for Monster Ball in 2001 and our very own Kate Winslet daubing her mascara for The Reader in 2009.

A is for Academy…

The Academy has become one of the most respected industry organisations since its foundation nearly 90 years ago. Louis B. Mayer, Hollywood movie legend and the second ‘M’ of studio giant MGM, held a dinner attended by three friends, actor Conrad Nagel, director Fred Niblo and producer Fred Beetson and by the end of the meal, the idea had been conceived.

Their idea to organise a group to benefit the film industry soon gathered speed and by January 1927, some of the biggest names in the business had joined forces to launch The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The rest, as they say, is history.

R is for Real Life…

There’s nothing like a true-life story to get the Academy all excited, and this year is no exception. Of the nine Best Picture nominations this year in 2014, two thirds are based on real events or people.

The brilliant Wolf of Wall Street (2014) has recently made the news for all the wrong reasons as lawyer Andrew Greene has taken legal action against the film’s studio Paramount. It has been suggested that the character of Nicky Koskoff is based on Greene, who was a real life friend of Jordan Belfort, upon whose memoirs the film is based. Greene's suit claims the movie has “permanently damaged” his reputation.

The Wolf of Wall Street

The other fact-based nominees for Best Picture are: Captain Phillips, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club.

Although anyone who saw Bruce Dern’s staggering performance in Nebraska could be forgiven for thinking that his character, Woody Grant, actually exists…

Bruce Dern in Nebraska

 

Do you have an Oscar favrouite this year? Is there a film which stands out above the rest for you/ Let us know via our Facebook page or by leaving your comments below.

 



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